The cable giant Comcast is reviving the once-future of local online news, announcing on its corporate blog that it has expanded its relaunch of the news and social site EveryBlock to include its home city of Philadelphia, at the same time the company is digging into its potential nation-wide merger with Time Warner Cable.
“EveryBlock,” writes Comcast’s director of local media development Paul Wright, “is a personalized news feed that allows users to stay connected with neighbors, interact and share what’s happening on their block, and discover great content and information from around their area. The hyper-local site aggregates news, reviews, events, local blogs and other web content, civic data (like crime reports and 311 requests), as well as user-generated questions and comments, and packages it into a personalized feed for users.”
Friend of Front Porch Forum, Adrian Holovaty founded EveryBlock in 2007, and received Knight Foundation funding (as FPF did a couple years later). From the Post article…
Holovaty, in an e-mail, describes himself both pleased and doubtful. “I’ve enjoyed having EveryBlock back because it helps me know what’s happening in my neighborhood,” he says. “But I’m very skeptical about Comcast’s ability to maintain the site well. They’ve given a lot of lip service to putting resources into it, but behind the scenes they aren’t doing much moderation, resulting in off-topic discussions on the site. Plus, more broadly, they don’t have a vision for it.”
Before Adrian left EveryBlock, their Chicago site enjoyed great traction and engagement. It’s not clear if they can get that back… especially across many different metro areas.